New Delhi: The Centre plans to come up with a stringent new law that will go beyond merely imposing financial penalties on industries found polluting Ganga and other major rivers.
Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave also asserted that his ministry would pursue on a case by case basis the controversial issue of interlinking of rivers depending on whether the project benefits, saying merely discussions on it is a "waste of time".
Elaborating on the 24/7 monitoring devices majorly on industries polluting Ganga, he said his ministry plans to take the system forward for other rivers, cities and projects as well.
"If any unit, local body or industry, pollute a river or its tributary, we will see to it that it does not happen. We are thinking of making stringent law for this. We are going ahead with it. "Just monetary punishment is not enough. You are damaging a living body (river). So just giving some money or fine will not do," Dave told PTI in an interview.
He had recently said a "zero tolerance" policy would be adopted towards the waste being discharged into Ganga from tanneries and asserted that some issues needed to be dealt "strictly".
Noting the discourse should not be about saving the Ganga but serving it, he stressed the need for creating a "social involvement" in the issue and said the government is holding consultations and working in the right direction.
"All rivers of the country, they must have their right on their conservation. We will list all major rivers of the country. We will see that a proper observation, monitoring and conservation activities are taken," he said.
Dave said his ministry is continuing with the dialouge with water resources ministry on the issue of interlinking of rivers.
"My thought is very simple. Once you connect two rivers, make a profit (P) and loss (L) account. If one feels after 5-7 years, we have a profit, go ahead for other one (river), but if you find it is not suitable and is damaging, do not go ahead with it. Put it in cold storage.
"Instead of talking for 40 years, it is better to construct one for four years and go ahead. We are wasting time otherwise (on this discussion whether it is good or bad).
"You join the two (rivers), have a P and L account. Put it in public. If you find its okay, go ahead, if the next generation finds, they do not feel like going ahead, dont go. scarp it. That is the right way," he said.
Dave had recently said in Parliament that the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project is presently under the consideration of Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) and its report is awaited. Government had recently said that there are 21 river-linking projects in the pipeline.